The relationship between Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans seems to be circling the drain amid reported broken promises, and now one of the team’s all-time greats is weighing in. He’s taking the player’s side.
Andre Johnson, a seven-time Pro Bowler and the Texans’ all-time receiving yards leader, tweeted Tuesday that Watson should hold firm in his stand-off with the team. He even added that the Texans organization is “known for wasting players [sic] careers” and blasted Texans executive Jack Easterby:
If I’m @deshaunwatson I will stand my ground. The Texans organization is known for wasting players careers. Since Jack Easterby has walk into the building nothing good has happened in/for the organization and for some reason someone can’t seem to see what’s going on. Pathetic!!!
— Andre Johnson (@johnson80) January 12, 2021
How strongly does Johnson believe what he tweeted? Well, it’s his first non-advertisement tweet since April 2019.
Easterby, the executive in question, was hired in April 2019 after beginning his NFL career as a team chaplain for the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots. He has since ascended through the Texans front office despite a near-total lack of related experience before joining the Texans, and remains with the team even after the firing of Bill O’Brien, the head coach and executive who hired him.
Watson reportedly remains “furious” with Texans owner Cal McNair for his handling of the head coach and general manager searches, and his lack of input on the future of the team. The team has since interviewed Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy, one of Watson’s preferred candidates, but it may be too little, too late.
Watson and Johnson aren’t alone in frustration with Texans
Johnson’s condemnation of the team with which he spent 12 seasons (and only four playoff games) was soon endorsed by the Texans’ two biggest departures from last season, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and nose tackle D.J. Reader.
Hopkins was infamously traded to the Arizona Cardinals for running back David Johnson and draft picks amid an apparent rift between himself and O’Brien. Reader left the Texans in free agency for a record contract with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Even among current Texans, Johnson’s viewpoint might have its share of supporters. Three-time defensive player of the year J.J. Watt was seen on video after the Texans’ final game (and loss) of the season apologizing to Watson and saying the team “wasted” one of his years.
Whatever Watson and the Texans end up doing, it’s clear the latter has a lot of work to do to get everyone on board for whatever future they envision.
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